Gratitude is a mindset.
It should not be relative to whether or not you're having a good or bad day, or whether those you encounter are (seemingly) doing better or worse than you are.
Learn to be grateful for what you have, and not just because you have what others do not. Yes, seeing someone in a difficult situation reminds us to be thankful––for example, reading a Facebook post about a kid with Cancer tugs at my heart and makes me extremely thankful that Ivy is healthy. But I believe one of the keys to true happiness in life is to have a heart full of gratitude, not just to be happy that you're better off than someone else (or that you perceive that you're better off). Gratitude is not about comparing yourself to others, or to some standard set by society. To have gratitude means that you take time to notice the things that are truly important to you and that make a positive impact in your life, big or small. It's about choosing to notice these things, training yourself to take notice of these things instead of allowing negativity to cloud your thoughts.
Having gratitude doesn't mean that you always smile and say, "THANKS" when things don't go your way. This isn't about seeing the silver lining and ignoring the dark cloud, or viewing the world through rose-colored glasses.
Gratitude is about seeing the world as it truly is and acknowledging the ugliness while focusing on the beauty.
Life is truly a gift. And it's short. Be grateful every day!
New feature for 2016: book recommendations! Two books I highly recommend related to the subject of gratitude:
- Living With Intent by Mallika Chopra
- Thanks! by Robert Emmons